My World

Nicki Thornton is a bestselling children’s author. Her ‘wickedly funny and wildly original haunted whodunit’ crime fiction novels have been nominated for awards including the Carnegie Medal, the CrimeFest Best Crime Novel for Children and Specsavers National Book Awards. She has been describe by Waterstones as ‘one of the most original children’s writers around’. 

Her debut middle-grade fantasy crime fiction thriller The Last Chance Hotel won the Times Children’s Fiction Prize. It was a Waterstones’ book of the month and it was followed by two others in the same series, featuring chef Seth Seppi. 

The first of her new Nightshade Mysteries, The Howling Hag Mystery, was a Waterstones book of the year. These feature a black cat with a nose for trouble who appears just as young people are being troubled by bad magic. 

Her books have sold in 15 countries and her sixth novel, The Floating Witch, will be published in 2024.

She was a bookseller for more than ten years and remain a huge supporter of anything that promotes reading for pleasure.

She has always adored crime fiction and was inspired to write a detective series with a magical twist while running her bookshop as she wanted a fun way to introduce young readers to the genre.

More about Nicki

Nicki is a journalist as well as an author, writing articles and reviewing as she reads way too many books! She lives in Oxfordshire. She writes crime fiction fantasy thrillers and is one of the team of Bookshop Mentors offering support and advice to independent bookshops through the Booksellers Association.

Nicki's book writing career began with the publication of The Last Chance Hotel in 2018. It is a crime fiction fantasy thriller for children. It is a book for all ages and she has many adult readers, not just young people. Her books are pacey and fun and set in a magical world and are about magical detectives who specialise in fighting crimes committed by sorcerers. She knows many reluctant readers have found them accessible and enjoyable, which really pleases her as she wants as many people as possible to love stories as much as she does.

The Last Chance Hotel was published by Chicken House in the UK. It won The Times Children’s Fiction Competition. It was picked as a Children's Book of the Month by Waterstones and was nominated for the Carnegie Medal.

The bestselling book was followed by two sequels and a spin-off series involving more magical characters and magical crimes.

Nicki's books have been published in many countries and translated into languages including Chinese, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Korean, Lithuanian, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Taiwanese and Turkish.

Nicki Thornton was born in Southsea, Hampshire, grew up in Berkshire and studied Social History at Sheffield University before working as a journalist, first in Slough, west of London, then moving to Oxfordshire. She worked in PR, becoming a freelance communications specialist focusing on technical writing and science communication. Clients included British Airways, Thames Water and AEAT. 

Working with words meant it felt a natural step to start up her own bookshop with husband, Mark. Mostly Books in Abingdon received a ‘nibbie’ award for ‘Best New Bookshop’ in 2008 and enjoyed a reputation for excellence in promoting good books and writers to its very loyal customers. She gained much experience in events management and working with schools.

Her favourite part of being a bookseller was talking to people about what they loved about reading and this led to a return to writing, this time writing fiction. Her first published story was in Woman’s Weekly after she won a short story competition and went on to have numerous stories published in magazines.

She visits many schools talking about the joys of reading and writing and offers hugely popular creative writing workshops to children and adults which are great for encouraging people to let their imagination run wild. 

She was proud to be a bookseller for more than ten years and is still a huge supporter of anything that promotes reading for pleasure. And she is currently working on her first adult novel.

More about Awards

Nicki Thornton’s debut won the 2019 Ealing Junior Book Award, was nominated for the Carnegie Medal 2019, was shortlisted for the 2019 CrimeFest Best Crime Novel for Children, the 2019 Oxfordshire Book Award Best Junior Novel, Shortlisted for the Warwickshire 2019 Junior Book Award and longlisted for the Specsavers National Book Awards 2018.

The Last Chance Hotel was a 'Best Book of 2018' in The Observer, The Telegraph and The Sunday Times.

There have been two sequels The Bad Luck Lighthouse and The Cut-Throat Cafe and two in a spin-off series The Howling Hag Mystery and The Poisoned Pie Mystery.

"With The Last Chance Hotel, Nicki Thornton fused magical fantasy with classic crime; its follow up pushes the envelope even further, with sinister conspiracies and ruthless organisations abounding around a curious lighthouse. Playful yet genuinely creepy, the Seth Seppi Mysteries are fast becoming must haves for any child’s library." - Waterstones

Fun Facts!

  • Her birthday is November 5 - a night which is celebrated in the UK with fireworks (but not just for her).
  • If she could do any magic she would choose to be able to do good luck and bad luck charms.
  • Although she writes about cats, she refuses to have one of her own as she loves to encourage all sorts of wildlife into her garden and cats might disagree with the reason for this.
  • She loves walking as well as writing and reading and often comes up with plot ideas while out walking or running.
  • She loves sharing writing tips and has a YouTube channel.